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Submission Ask Slashdot: How to set up a big data/data science project portfolio? 1

An anonymous reader writes: I am a mid-career IT professional in the middle of a transition from IT to a domain within the biological sciences. My planned academic route to the target new domain will take at least 3-5 years to finish. In the interim, I want to work in (and earn from) the IT domain of Big Data/Data Science, since that is more aligned with the skills I need in my target new domain: data analysis, visualization, signal processing, imaging, simulation etc. The problem is that apart from early career stints, I've very little and only surface level experience with these topics. So I want to ask Slashdot for suggestions on the tasks Ive set myself to accomplish this transition. Specifically:
  1. What are the foundational topics I need to learn. What parts of math, statistics, machine learning, text analysis, scientific programming...?
  2. What books to read?
  3. What courses (preferably open/online) to take?
  4. I want to set up an online portfolio of big-data projects that I work on to showcase skills that I acquire in this domian. What are some of the more challenging, topical and novel applications areas and open problems to showcase in a portfolio, such that it is distinctive and interesting. E.g., consumer behavior, neuro-/bio-informatics, socio-economic trends ...
  5. How do I find sources of open/non-propreitary data sets to use for my portfolio projects?
  6. What hosting resources do I need to set up a portfolio of big-data projects? Any suggestions on specific hosting providers?
  7. What tools should I strive to learn (preferably FOSS): E.g., Hadoop, R, Octave, Python ...?
  8. What are the industry and trade bodies that cater to big-data professionals?
  9. How do I acquire mentor(s)/guide(s) who can informally guide me through the above skill acquisition and portfolio creation tasks?
  10. Any othe Data Science related wisdom

Comment Justification of having http.sys on every machine (Score 1) 519

They're trying to somehow justify why they silently rolled out http.sys, a rebranded IIS, as a kernel driver with Win XP SP2. With that on the machine, each and every XPSP2 and Vista machine has an HTTP server running as a kernel driver that ordinary user processes can use to publish whatever they want.

Going the speed of light is bad for your age.